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Thursday, April 4, 2024

Passing the Baton - Matt Bostwick Construction

Passing The Baton

Matt Bostwick Construction


Writer: Valerie Coulman 

Photography: David Gibb

In the construction industry in Southern Oregon, two familiar family names have become synonymous with an expectation of quality, and after almost twenty years working together, two local builders will be branching out in different directions.

For Matt Bostwick of Bostwick Construction & Millwork in Medford, he freely admits he hadn’t planned to go into the family business that his father, Everett Bostwick, began back in 1962. “I started in the cabinet shop when I was twelve,” recalls Bostwick, “and swore I’d never go into the building business.” His goal was to become a hedge fund manager, but as often happens, the combined advice of a college professor and family connections kept him in the Rogue Valley, working with his father, until eventually transitioning to lead the company around 1990.

“My father worked as a cabinet maker and backed his way into being a general contractor,” Bostwick shares, and the attention to detail that is central to the skills and practices of millwork carried forward into all their home building skills. “He went at it with the mindset of a cabinetmaker.”  For over 50 years now, Bostwick Construction & Millwork’s many projects included not just beautiful custom homes but specialized cabinetry, handcrafted features, and custom fabricated doors and furniture from unique materials, rare woods, or reclaimed lumber. 

Matt Van Sickle also grew up with no intention of entering his family’s business as a plumber. Drawn to building, Van Sickle worked with number of different shops before eventually landing with Bostwick Construction in 2005. There, he found a place to continue building his construction and design skills under the guidance of Bostwick’s team of craftsmen.

“I’m a worker, as Matt knows,” says Van Sickle, “and the people Matt surrounds himself with are quality. When I saw what they were building, I thought, ‘This is the real deal.’” From his beginnings as a clean-up boy through a variety of cabinet shops and now almost two decades with Bostwick, Van Sickle credits a number of people with helping him learn the skills of the trade, but in particular Richard Bright, one of Bostwick’s key staff. “He’s a craftsman. He was pivotal,” says Van Sickle. “He saw something in me.” His very first jobsite project with Bright, he recalls, “catapulted me into what I know now.”

What Van Sickle knows now has expanded rapidly beyond just the skills of a worksite but also to a key role in managing the projects under Bostwick’s business name. “We showed him some different skills,” says Bostwick of those early days, and Van Sickle’s capabilities now include a complete understanding of custom home design, cabinetry, and construction from the ground up that has served Southern Oregon well.

“We have good relationships with architects and designers,” says Bostwick. “They know they can give us their plans and trust us to do it.” They’re also able to provide experienced and valuable feedback of potential pitfalls and workable options to both clients and builders as the project progresses. “We sit down, listen to them, and talk with them,” says Bostwick, and adds, “We also keep a pre-emptive eye on the budget.”

Over the past several years, Bostwick generally handled what he describes as “ground to drywall” as they conferred with clients, architects, and designers, and then Van Sickle would oversee the project through the final subs to completion. “There are so many details,” points out Bostwick, “you need someone sitting on that egg all the time.” And in that, he reminds, is the place where a cabinetmaker’s attention to detail shines, both in managing a project, and in making sure anyone on the project works to the same level of quality they expect from themselves. “We have pretty good knowledge of what needs to happen.”

The two acknowledge that their personal styles differ, but have worked well in tandem. Bostwick is known for his easy, laid-back relationships with both his clients and the professionals he works with—architects, designers, and subcontractors—while Van Sickle describes himself as more energetic while managing a project. “The energy I bring to a job is pure, it’s good, it’s ‘let’s get this finished,’” he says, but adds, “I’ve always had a good sense of management and of putting clients at ease, letting them know they’ll be taken care of.”

That balance in personality has worked well to serve their customers well too, adds Van Sickle. “We have different management styles but we always come to the same end result—a happy client and a great product.”

When Bostwick began thinking about retiring several years ago, both Bostwick and Van Sickle discussed a variety of options for handing off the needs of their clients and continuing with the same reputation for quality custom construction; but in the end, Van Sickle chose to launch out under his own name, a decision Bostwick supports. “To sell or transition becomes so complicated,” says Bostwick. “Bostwick Construction is a family business. We had a great run but it’s time to close it.”

Bostwick is looking forward to spending more time at his favorite outdoor pasttimes and indulging in some new ones as well. “I’m looking forward to doing all those things I couldn’t leave work to do,” he smiles. “I have a pretty extensive bucket list that old men can’t do. It’s time to work on that.” 

Van Sickle is also looking ahead and excited to be putting the skill set he holds to work for Rogue Valley homeowners and businesses, plus adding a few new tools to his workflow, including a CNC machine and 3D design software. “I’m proud to say I’ve had nineteen years associated with Bostwick Construction. It’s been a great run, and I can’t say enough about this man and how I’ve seen him run a company.”

With several projects already in the works, Van Sickle is looking forward to continuing both the good relationships they’ve established with local trades and clients, and to providing quality custom homes to Southern Oregon and beyond.

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